We recently featured the photography of Keow Wee Loong, who claimed he had entered Fukushima’s exclusion zone without a permit. His photos of the area have been widely shared on social media and by other publications. While controversial in their own right, a blog post by Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski accuses Keow of mis-representing the images, stating that the photos he released were actually taken in publicly accessible green and orange zone areas that don’t require special permits to enter.
Keow Wee Loong has posted a rebuttal on his own Facebook page, stating that he did in fact enter red zones without a permit, describing the towns he visited as ‘basically empty’ save for a few police patrols.
|An image posted by Keow Wee Long on his Facebook page comparing the locations he claims to have recorded for his own photos to recent maps documenting evacuation status of towns in the region.|
Singaporean website Mothership.sg flags a few of the locations photographed by Keow on Google Maps, stating that they are in fact in areas where residents are permitted limited access. But areas without red zone restrictions may still look very much abandoned. In an article published in March, the Japan Times reported that while many communities in Fukushima Prefecture had seen restrictions lifted, many residents were reluctant to return.
It’s difficult to say whether Keow is misrepresenting or sensationalizing his story as Podniesinski claims, or whether he may have believed he was in more dangerous territory than he really was. Does the controversy change how you view these photos? Let us know in the comments.